Name: Ryan Andrew Campbell
Family: Joanne Campbell – Mother; Lindsay Campbell – Father; Chris Campbell – Brother (1988); Adam Campbell – Brother (1991)
Lives: Broadwater, Merimbula on the Sapphire Coast
MY FAMILY AND AVIATION
My Great Grandfather was one of those ‘If I was meant to fly I would have feathers and a beak’ kind of people, so it was after much grumbling that he was convinced to join his wife and two sons on a barnstorming flight with Charles Kingsford Smith.
Only a young boy at the time, this flight sparked the love of aviation within my Grandad. After returning from World War Two he learnt to fly and, joining the ranks of fellow private pilots, he went on to build a total flying time of 222 hours and 22 minutes. Various factors including his time in the infantry on the Kokoda Track, a busy farming life and ill health meant that his flying was limited, yet he still managed to pass his love of aviation onto the next generation.
My Uncle, Andy Campbell, is a commercial pilot with over 6,000 hours in the general aviation industry and is owner-operator of Merimbula Air Services.
My Dad learnt to fly later in life, realising his dream to become a private pilot, and while older brother Adam has recently completed his CPL. With my eldest brother Chris just beginning his lessons it is safe to say that the passion for aviation runs deep within our family.
FOLLOWING MY DREAMS
The first time I set foot in an airliner was on a flight to Vanuatu when I was only six years old.
After being pushed back in the seat on take off, shown around the flight deck at 35,000 feet and sitting in awe of smartly dressed commercial pilots towing their small wheelie bags through the airport, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Growing up with two older brothers meant that life’s hardest decision, ‘What do I want to be when I grow up?’ was not just left to them.
As a seven year old I would sternly and seriously tell anyone who would listen that I would grow up to be a ‘Jumbo Jet Pilot, own a Subaru WRX and live in Canberra’.
It seems common sense to think you would need to get your driver’s licence before learning to fly.
It was under this assumption that I decided to complete Year 12 and then pursue my career in aviation.
My path was changed for me at age fourteen when I stumbled across an article in the local newspaper about a boy who had just flown a recreational Evektor Sportstar aircraft solo on his fifteenth birthday, making him the youngest ‘pilot’ in Australia.
I was in awe and to say the least, purely jealous. I must have read that article a dozen times before deciding that if he could do it, why couldn’t I? It was at this stage that my Dad had just started flying lessons with an instructor through my Uncle’s scenic and charter flight business, meaning that completing my trial introductory flight was an easy experience.
Flying in the Sportstar with Chief Flying Instructor Alan Lindsay and under time restraints on the day, I flew what I now know as a circuit.
It was only a short flight but after rocking the wings to the left and to the right on downwind it gave me a smile that simply wouldn’t go away for days and confirmed what I already knew.
This was what I was meant to do!